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ECM: What’s your angle?

ECM for global collaboration

Global technology company Lexmark sought an enterprise-level enterprise content management (ECM) strategy that would provide a collaborative environment and allow users to find the resources they need. The company sells printing and imaging products and services in more than 170 countries, and nearly 60 percent of its revenue comes from international sales. Its teams must collaborate across time zones to manage printing for customers throughout the world.

Lexmark was interested in EMC Documentum CenterStage, an ECM user interface that provides access to enterprisewide content, and became involved in the development of the product as an early adopter and tester. Lexmark had previously used eRoom from EMC Documentum.

“Lexmark had accumulated lots of applications to manage content, including eRoom, SharePoint, Vignette and share drives, and they’re a big Lotus Notes shop,” says Lou Jordano, product marketing manager in the information intelligence group at EMC. “To get the enterprise strategy it wanted, Lexmark first had to consolidate its application approach.”

CenterStage’s ECM user interface allows discovery and secure access to all major data formats including Web 2.0 content. With CenterStage deployed, Lexmark now can use role-based access to control and share information securely. Groups such as the sales force and product teams have set up workspaces through which they can collaborate.

“In addition, internal services have created ‘storefronts’ so they can be found by potential customers within the organization,” Jordano says. “We have empowered users to be able to set up their workspaces without any intervention from IT, which provides a lot of agility for these groups.”  

Quality is key in choosing open source

Partly in response to price pressure, more organizations are looking at open source enterprise content management (ECM) products as an option. In a survey by Accenture published in August, 38 percent of respondents were planning to shift mission-critical software to open source within the next 12 months.

Half the respondents believed that open source software contributed to lower total cost of ownership, but a larger proportion, 76 percent, said that quality was a key benefit of open source software.

So, although cost is a factor in selecting open source software and perhaps the motivation for looking into it in the first place, cost is no longer perceived as the main benefit, as was the case in Accenture’s research two years ago.

Interoperability standards

The use of disparate databases will become easier and therefore more common as enterprise content management (ECM) vendors move toward interoperability. In May, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) approved Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) Version 1.0. CMIS is an open standard that allows information to be shared across ECM repositories from different vendors. It was developed and supported by a large number of vendors of proprietary and open source ECM products.

“Standards for interoperability are really starting to make a difference,” says Cheryl McKinnon, chief marketing officer at Nuxeo, “because they allow for more focus on the application itself and less on integrating the components.” McKinnon sees 2010 as something of a watershed year because of advances in standards. In addition, the lower entry price into open source software has caught the eye of many organizations.

“SharePoint’s shadow has also put a lot of downward pressure on how much organizations are willing to pay per seat for ECM,” adds McKinnon.

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